Senior Nikki Osuna Looks to Become the 11th Player in Tulane History to Reach 400 Digs in a Single Season
Oct. 27, 2011
10/28/11 & 10/30/11
Tulane Green Wave at East Carolina Pirates and Marshall Thundering Herd
Start Times: 6:00 (Friday), Noon (Sunday)
Vs. East Carolina: Tulane Leads 12-0
Vs. Marshall: Tulane Leads Series 5-3
Looking at the Green Wave
Tulane opened last week with a three-set victory over rival Southern Miss, but dropped a three-set decision at UCF and a thrilling five-setter against UTEP to end the week with a 1-2 mark. The Green Wave has yet to post a winning week in 2011 and will enter the weekend with an 8-14 overall record, which includes a 3-8 mark in Conference USA play.
Sophomore Cori Martone continues to lead the attack and enters the weekend with 228 kills. The Baton Rouge, La. native ranks second on the team in total blocks (60) and service aces (18), while ranking fourth in digs (77) and assists (23). Of her 228 kills, 128 of those have come in Conference USA play and her 3.05 kills per-set average ranks 13th among her conference constituents.
Nikki Osuna is having a solid senior season for the Olive and Blue and is on the brink of cracking the single season top-ten list in the category. Osuna, who is in her second year with the program, has 385 digs through 22 matches this season and can become just the 11th player in school history to top the 400 dig mark with 15 digs this weekend. She currently ranks third in C-USA with a 5.00 digs per-set average in conference matches.
Mel Mandelbaum continues to move up the career assist charts, ranking tenth with 1,450 helpers. She is just 24 shy of moving into eighth place, currently held by Shelly Wolfe (1996-97), and just 46 away from Angie Smith (1989-92) in the seventh spot on the list. The sophomore paces the squad with 471 assists this season.
Scouting the Pirates
East Carolina enters the weekend on a 15-match losing streak, including five straight defeats in straight sets. The Pirates have not claimed a victory since defeating UNC-Wilmington on September 9. Overall, ECU owns a 2-18 record with a 0-11 mark in Conference USA action. Looking at the conference statistics, East Carolina ranks last in four of the seven major categories, sitting 11th in two and seventh in the other.
On an individual level, Britney Roper leads the team with 141 kills and Kelly Derby (108 kills) is the only other Pirate attacker to reach the 100-kill mark. Roper and Jackie Varnum are the only two ECU players to rank among the top-ten in Conference USA statistically, with Roper ranking fifth in service aces and Varnum sitting ninth in blocks. Freshman setter Zarah Cecich has taken the reigns of the offense in conference play, handing out 211 assists, and she ranks among the team leaders in digs and blocks over the past 11 matches.
Scouting the Thundering Herd
Marshall has posted just five wins all year, but four of those have come in Conference USA play.The Thundering Herd enter the weekend at 5-16 overall and 4-7 in C-USA play. As a team, Marshall is hitting .161, ranking 11th in the conference, and, on the other side, opponents are hitting .241, which ranks as the highest hitting percentage allowed in C-USA.
The individual efforts have been good for the Thundering Herd this season. Abby Tomas leads the team with 208 kills, followed by Cameron Yoho (201), Sacha Buous-McConnell (147), Desirre Wilkerson (129) and Laura Der (103). Freshman setter Sammie Bane paces the squad with 679 assists and is third on the roster with 157 digs.